Comments on our article about the closure last week offer a wide variety of views of the efficacy of the MRAQ and whether it should continue or be replaced by another organisation.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey says he and the department were advised of the MRAQ’s closure.
However, he suggests it leaves no void in rider representation at a government level.
“TMR regularly engages with several stakeholders on matters that relate to Queensland riders and will continue to do so,” the Minister says.
“For example, RACQ are consulted on all initiatives in addition to attending regular meetings, a Q-Ride industry forum is held annually, and Q-Ride trainers have a dedicated contact officer within TMR to contact about Q-ride and other motorcycle related matters.”
The RACQ is the biggest club in Queensland with more than a million paid members and most likely the largest number of motorcycle riders.
Will RACQ fill void?
Several of the key RACQ staff are also riders, including Technical and Safety Officer Steve Spalding.
“The RACQ regularly contributes to government policy and local council discussions on motorcycle issues, particularly road safety, to promote greater awareness of rider vulnerability, along with practical advice and information that helps makes it safer for them,” Steve says.
“RACQ has also supported greater theft prevention awareness by partnering with the Queensland Police Service on securing motorcycles parked at home or in public spaces.
“We successfully advocated for the reinstatement of government funding for the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council which tracks and collates data on all vehicle theft including motorcycles.
“RACQ provides advice to members on motorcycle ownership, care and maintenance, through its technical advisory service and recently appointed a Mackay based Approved Riding School to help learners in that area connect with a Q-Ride trainer,” Steve says.
In the void of a rider-initiated representative group, we asked Minister Bailey if he was considering a ministerial advisory panel of motorcycle experts.
However, Minister Bailey says TMR is “not considering a motorcycle riders panel”.
“However, the department welcomes any opportunity to improve engagement with Queensland riders and industry,” he says.
Former MRAQ member and SMART Rider trainer Steve McDowall says he has had discussions with riders since the meeting.
“A number of us recognise the need for a body that adequately represents the interests of riders in Queensland, both to government and amongst the community in general,” he says.
“There has to be perceivable benefits for riders and an organisation that the government can have faith in.
“I’m not suggesting that the MRAQ didn’t have that trust from the government but it’s obvious that it didn’t have the support of the riding community.
“How we create that body/organisation that meets those criteria is what the initial discussions have been around, and at this time there are no definite plans in place but there is a desire among a group of us to ensure that body is created.
“It’s going to be a massive task.”
Motorbike Writer comment
Rider apathy seems to be in abundance nationwide as many riders gravitate to free and informal social media groups.